Often when people refer to Public Relations (PR), they tend to think it’s just about managing events or planning some kind of function. This is far from the truth and needs to be fully understood if only to avoid the profession being undermined by misconceptions.

In its totality, PR focuses more on cultivating relationships and being at the centre of reputation management. All this comes with properly structured targeted communication plans and frequently activities like planning and managing events are involved. However, it is also important to note that events management /planning is just one part of the broad sweep that PR covers. For more clarity, Public Relations is like a hand with fingers that comprise of Events Management, Media Relations, Crisis Management, Corporate Communications and Community Relations. All these fingers can operate differently, but are intertwined to make the whole hand a very useful appendage.

Also to note is that, Public Relations is a continuous process with the main objective of managing brands’ reputation through communication. PR practitioners will frequently organise events but the essence of these is to provide a platform for intimate communication with their target audiences, it is the general response/take out from these events that really matters to a PR professional. What is communicated, how it’s communicated and the subsequent effects are the nuts and bolts of the industry.

An events manager will on the other hand, be more concerned on how the different parts of the event come together and whether the people invited are enjoying themselves. If all goes well as planned, then the event is done and dusted. This cannot be overstated enough. Once the event is done, it’s done, even if there are after event evaluations process, they don’t change the fact that the event is done.

Based on the functions of Public Relations, different communication channels are required in order to accomplish the desired brand reputation and relationship with the target audience.

For the success of any event, one may focus on one channel of communication to get the results desired. In as much as Events management is part of Public Relations, they do have some similarities in case one found themselves in a particular situation.

Public Relations and Events Management require several relationship management tactics because both mean and require engaging with people and brands. The people skills are a necessity here. For an event to be successful one must know what will work with the target audience, their likes and dislikes. A PR professional will be kept on their toes constantly interacting or associating with clients and brands. These relationships include media relations, stakeholder relationships, trade relations, community relations and internal relations.

For both intensive planning and creativity is demanded, but most importantly SMART objectives are a major requirement. For any event or PR campaign to be successful the objectives must be SMART enough to create positive effects. As the market grows and more professionals are developing niches, today there professionals whose focus is only on events management however if you are a PR professional it’s important to be versatile.

About the Author: Immaculate Namanda

Immaculate has a solid grounding in account management. She knows the market, with skills in strategic positioning, media and client relations together with project coordination and management. Prior to joining WMC Africa, she headed media relations, brand positioning, strategic writing, CSI initiatives and events management at the Alam Group.

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